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Berlin to go, english edition, 04/2019

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  • Future
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COFFEEBREAK COFFEE BREAK

COFFEEBREAK COFFEE BREAK Lukas Breitenbach in conversation with Dr. Tanja Wielgoß, CEO of Vattenfall Wärme Berlin AG TODAY, VERY FEW SUBJECTS ARE BEING DISCUSSED AS INTENSIVELY – AND HE­ ATEDLY – AS THE CLEAN ENERGY TRAN­ SITION AND CLIMATE CHANGE. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON THE DISCUSSION? However explosive and heated the discussion has become, I still find the public debate utterly intriguing. It’s very interesting to see how many people of all ages and social backgrounds are speaking out. I also think it’s great how many women are letting their voices be heard; it’s quite noticeable in the Fridays for Future movement. In the many discussions I have, I’ve also noticed that there are still different views on exactly “how” to approach climate protection. But I also see more and more people realizing that we cannot go on as we have to date, and a large majority of people are now united by the desire to leave behind a habitable world for future generations. WHEN YOU WERE ASKED ABOUT YOUR MOVE TO VATTENFALL, YOU SAID THAT YOU FOUND IT VERY APPEALING TO HAVE A NEW OPPORTUNITY TO SHAPE THE TRANSITION TO CLEAN ENERGY. HOW ARE YOU GOING ABOUT DOING THIS? The aim of the entire Vattenfall Group is to enable our customers to live fossil-free lives. It’s a task that poses a huge challenge to the transformation of our energy system. We’re also working on that in Berlin with Vattenfall Wärme. Every day, my colleagues contribute their know-how and ideas to making this transformation process as efficient, sustainable and socially balanced as possible. When it comes to transformation processes, I always find it important to imagine the task in concrete terms, that is, in numbers. In the federal state of Berlin, we are currently emit- 24

Photo: © Peter-Paul Weiler ting around 17 million tons of CO2 per year. Our common goal is to get that number down to 11 million tons. At Vattenfall Wärme, our aim is to contribute a decline of roughly 2 million tons. In concrete terms, this means that we will have to produce the heat that we generate locally in a more ecological way. Even today, district heating customers have roughly one ton less of CO2 in their budgets than their fellow citizens who rely on conventional energy generation. And the good news is that this CO2 burden is set to become lighter even without having to invest again or worry about fuel or the structure of the system. I’m delighted to have a job where I can make such an important contribution to the transition to clean energy that will benefit so many Berliners. I would be very happy if more and more Berlin residents were to set out on a similar path. Indeed, as Frank Peter from the energy think tank Agora said so beautifully: Berlin is one of the hardest places to become free from fossil fuels in district heating. If it succeeds here, it will succeed everywhere. WHEN YOU WERE HEAD OF THE BSR, YOU WERE QUOTED AS SAYING “IT WOULD BE GREAT IF CLEAN ENERGY WERE COOL.” AS THE CEO OF VATTENFALL WÄRME, WOULD YOU ALSO SAY THIS WAS ALSO TRUE? Absolutely. I still enjoy seeing my former waste-management colleagues in their orange attire, and I love doing sports in a clean park. In a figurative sense, district heating – or, as I prefer to call it, city heating – is a clean product. With each new household we sign up, we avoid about a ton of CO2 per year, often replacing old oil heating systems and even – believe it or not – coal stoves in the city. Our heat is a 25

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